7 Interesting Facts about India’s Smart Cities Mission

India’s Smart Cities Mission has reached its first milestone with the Ministry of Urban Development shortlisting 20 cities from a list of 97 contenders in the Smart City challenge. The list with topped by Bhubaneshwar (Odisha), followed by Pune (Maharashtra) and Jaipur (Rajasthan) in the second and third place, respectively. As is the case with most programs, the real challenge now lies in implementation.

Here are 7 things to know about India’s Smart Cities mission:
  1. Transparent, Meritocratic Selection Approach: To participate in the Smart City challenge, states had to apply with the name(s) of the cities, following which there was a detailed questionnaire covering issues that the participants had to fill in.
  2. The 20 Highest Scoring Cities Were Shortlisted for Round I: Based on the questionnaire filled, each city was given a score. The 20 highest scoring cities were selected for development in the first round of the Smart Cities Mission.
  3. Critical Urban Issues will be Focus of Smart Cities: Better public transport, infrastructure, and tech-enabled services – all enabled with IT as the core infrastructure, will be the defining attributes of smart cities.
  4. INR 50,802 crore will be Invested in the Selected Cities: While a substantial amount will be invested by the central government over the next five years, municipalities will also have to do some fund raising. This could prove to be a hurdle in the implementation of the program.
  5. Resource Mobilization will Largely be Done via PPPs: According to reports, most of the cities shortlisted in the first round will be relying on public-private partnerships (PPP) to mobilize resources.
  6. Real Estate Sector Could Receive Boost with Smart Cities Mission: Already, industry bodies such as CREDAI have lauded the smart cities mission as it is expected to bring some luster to an otherwise dull real estate scenario.
  7. Cities that didn’t make it Can Now Enter a ‘Fast Track Competition’: States and Union Territories that didn’t make the shortlist can now re-work on their smart city proposal. The upgraded proposal needs to be submitted by April 15, 2016.
Although the Smart Cities project has taken off with much enthusiasm, maintaining this momentum will be pivotal to its success.

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